The Stafford Act and the Disaster Mitigation Act

sinking shipsThe Stafford Act and the Disaster Mitigation Act mandate advanced planning for mitigation efforts.

The Stafford Act (officially the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, as Amended April 2013) provides the statutory authority for most federal disaster response activities. The Act requires states to prepare mitigation plans as a condition of disaster assistance:

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA) added incentives for increased coordination and integration of mitigation activities.  The Act created two levels of state plans: standard and enhanced. States with an approved Enhanced State Plan are eligible to receive additional federal funding for hazard mitigation measures and disaster relief assistance. As of June 2015, the only Gulf Coast state with an enhanced plan was Florida.

Local communities are also required to prepare mitigation action plans to be eligible for Federal post-disaster mitigation grants.

However, a potential disconnect between State and Local planning efforts exists because Federal law does not require that local mitigation action plans be part of Enhanced State Plans or even local comprehensive plans. Further, there is no requirement for any kind of land use planning, although there is language encouraging it in FEMA  guidance documents*

*Policy for use of Local Mitigation Planning Handbook (March 2013).

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